The diet of a pregnant woman should be as varied and complete as possible. You need to add a lot of vegetables, fruits, and dairy products to it. Cheeses are a treasure of vitamins and microelements. Soft varieties of this product have the greatest biological and nutritional value. Feta cheese is one of them.
It is believed that poorly processed food should not be eaten during pregnancy. Soft cheeses are not subjected to additional processing: melting and smoking. Let’s see if there are any reasons to refuse feta cheese during pregnancy.
How dangerous is feta cheese?
Carefully study the technology of cheese production before eating it. Read on the packaging or the manufacturer’s website exactly how the cheese was prepared, under what conditions it is stored, and from what milk it is made. Cheese can be dangerous for pregnant women when using unpasteurized milk. Pregnant women can eat soft cheeses only from pasteurized milk.
Soft cheeses are dangerous because they can be a source of listeriosis. This is one of the most severe foodborne illnesses. The causative agent is the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. It can be found in raw milk. The CDC warns that even pasteurized milk products have the potential to harbor bacteria if not hygienically produced.
What are the benefits of feta cheese during pregnancy?
Feta cheese has a very wide vitamin composition. Vitamins of groups B and D are especially valuable. The microelement composition is even richer. The product contains a lot of calcium, sodium, phosphorus, magnesium, and selenium. Lactic acid bacteria in cheese help to improve the intestinal microflora of pregnant women.
Among the effective properties of cheese are the following:
- Supports the health of the bones of a pregnant woman
- Increases immunity
- Improves bowel function
- Helps prevent anemia
- Provides good condition of hair, nails, and skin
- Strengthens the nervous system
Feta cheese is an excellent source of protein. This protein is extremely important for the child and the mother. Feta is not a medicine or a vitamin. This is just a separate product in the diet that enriches it. You cannot use this cheese instead of medicines or vitamin complexes. Cheese is very nutritious, but it is not a panacea for health problems, especially during pregnancy.
The effect of feta cheese on the fetus
The nutrition of the mother determines the health of the unborn child. It is recommended to add soft cheeses to the diet to replenish calcium. A baby needs a lot of calcium for the proper formation of the skeleton, bone growth, and strengthening of the skull. It is difficult to obtain from plant foods. This trace element is rich in dairy products.
The fetus inside the womb needs to get a regular amount of animal protein. Feta cheese is an excellent source of protein and amino acids. It is important to follow a diet with a lot of B vitamins in the formation of the nervous and circulatory systems of the child. Soft cheeses contain many of these vitamins. They also have a beneficial effect on the development of the optic nerve.
Strong maternal immunity is important for maintaining the health of the baby. Eating feta cheese increases the level of probiotics that fight pathogenic intestinal microflora. This reduces the number of inflammatory processes.
What feta cheese should not be eaten by pregnant women
Beware of buying cheese from private cheese makers without certification. Be careful if a good-natured family with their farm makes cheese and invites you to try it. Large industries are responsible for their product. They undergo rigorous checks and monitor the preservation of sanitary conditions.
Small cheese dairies or farms do not always have the necessary equipment and means of cleaning vessels for making cheese.
Carefully study the composition and expiration date of the cheese. There should be no extra preservatives and foreign products in the composition. Choose the option with a lot of brine and a more crumbly consistency of cheese. Do not buy cheese that is distantly related to the type of “feta”. The name should not contain such names: as “cheese product” or “feta flavored”.
Contraindications for eating feta cheese during pregnancy
Feta cheese is quite safe in terms of the overall effect on the body of a pregnant woman. There are some situations in which it is better to stop eating this dairy product:
Feta cheese is not recommended for women with high blood pressure. This is due to the high concentration of sodium in this product. It provokes pressure surges and complicates the situation during pregnancy.
High salt content is bad for the work of the heart and blood vessels. There may be problems with the patency of blood vessels and their fragility will increase. The cardiovascular system experiences significant stress during pregnancy and foods with a lot of salt only increase them.
Edema and varicose veins
Fluid stasis often occurs during gestation. The use of salty foods provokes water retention in the tissues and increases swelling. It is better to dose and control nutrition as much as possible, excluding foods high in salt. Feta is a very salty cheese.
Arthritis and other joint problems
It is better not to eat feta cheese if you have joint problems. Salt deposits, joint pain, and inflammatory processes have a bad effect on the general well-being of a pregnant woman and lead to a chronic form of the disease.
Lactose and casein intolerance
It is better to exclude feta cheese from the diet if any unpleasant symptoms appear after consumption. The digestive system responds more often: bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, pain in the intestines, and heartburn. Less common are itching, rash, and allergic edema.
Features of the use and storage of feta cheese during pregnancy
Feta cheese is stored in brine. Be sure of its quality, expiration date, preservation of vacuum packaging, and availability of brine when you buy this dairy product. It is better to use the whole cheese when opening the package without leaving a part for later. Try not to throw out the brine and store the cheese in it unless you plan on eating the whole pack.
Store feta cheese exclusively in the refrigerator. Do not eat cheese that has been open for more than 2-3 days. Always check for mold and slime in the product before using it. There should be no unpleasant smell, color, and consistency. Cheese can be added to salads with fresh vegetables, on sandwiches, added to pizza, or on other cooked dishes.
How much and how often can pregnant women eat feta cheese
Nutritionists do not recommend the abuse of cheeses of any kind. A woman’s immune system malfunctions during childbearing. This can provoke the development of allergic reactions to products that have not previously caused such effects. Eat cheese in small portions.
If feta cheese is used alone as a healthy snack, then it is best not to consume more than 50 grams of it at a time. The number of cheese snacks should not exceed 2-3 times a week.
Do not exceed the norm of 25-30 grams when feta cheese is an additional ingredient in the dish. Reduce cheese intake to a minimum during the period of swelling. It is best to take a break from feta cheese if you have an allergic rash or bloating. It is recommended not to use cheese in large quantities if there is excess weight. Feta cheese is a high-calorie and salty product.
At what stage of pregnancy can you eat feta cheese?
Since feta cheese is a live product made without additional processing, it is better not to risk eating it in the first months of pregnancy. Refrain from eating foods that can indirectly harm health at the beginning of pregnancy.
The best time to enjoy this soft cheese is the second trimester. Toxicosis disappears from the 13th week. The woman’s menu is gradually expanding and nutritional needs are increasing. The fetus grows very rapidly and requires a large amount of easily digestible protein.
It is necessary to gradually reduce the amount of feta cheese from the 27th week. Leave it as a pleasant snack but do not consume it every day. The fact is that reduced immunity in the third trimester may not be able to cope with the likely bacteria that partially remain in the cheese. There is a risk of developing allergies or lactose intolerance.
From which milk to choose feta cheese for pregnant women?
Feta cheese is traditionally made from cow’s milk. Such cheese is rare in modern stores. Feta cheese made from a mixture of goat and sheep milk is considered more common and useful. It is more piquant in taste and rich in chemical composition.
The content of casein in the milk of cows is much higher than in the milk of goats and sheep. Casein causes unpleasant symptoms in the form of bloating, indigestion, and allergic reactions.
Pregnant women should give preference to cheeses made from pasteurized goat and sheep milk. This choice is justified by the low-calorie content of the product. Cow’s milk is richer in fat. Cheese made from goat and sheep milk will bring maximum benefits to the body.
How to understand that you should not eat feta cheese?
Pregnant women often want to eat what is not always beneficial. It is worth taking a break after eating feta cheese if negative symptoms appear.
The first thing to do is evaluate the effect of cheese on your digestion. There should be no seething inside the abdomen, severe bloating, diarrhea, constipation, or pain in the hypochondrium when using an acceptable amount of this product. These are seemingly harmless manifestations that you will not immediately associate with feta cheese.
There are more serious symptoms: rash, nausea, and vomiting, swelling, increased pressure, stomach pain. Never continue to leave feta cheese in your diet if you experience similar symptoms after eating it.
Is feta cheese safe for pregnant women with high cholesterol?
It is better to refrain from eating cheeses if the pregnant woman suffers from high cholesterol. Feta is not the fattest type of cheese, but the amount of cholesterol in it is quite high. This is reportedly 89 mg per 3.5 oz of product.
You don’t have to give up cheese completely. Just control the level of cholesterol and its volume in the dish. Halve your pregnancy allowance and enjoy the taste and benefits of feta cheese.
Should pregnant women eat feta cheese?
The nutritional value of soft cheeses is too high to avoid eating them completely during pregnancy. We conclude that feta cheese can be eaten during pregnancy if you choose it correctly and evaluate the effect.
Never eat cheese made from unpasteurized milk. It can contain bacteria that are extremely dangerous for your health and the development of the child. Listeriosis can harm the fetus and even cause miscarriage or premature birth. Do not be negligent in the choice of food. Think about your baby’s safety.